Why does Japan want to return the Kuril Islands if it lost World War II?


After the end of World War II, South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands were excluded from Japan and returned to Soviet Russia. In 1951, the Japanese officially renounced their claim to these possessions.

However, subsequently, Japan began to dispute the ownership of several islands of the Kuril ridge and is still conducting a fierce political struggle for their return.

The territorial dispute arose over 3 islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, as well as the Habomai archipelago.

By the way, the region is incredibly rich in resources. On Iturup

Large reserves of natural gas, oil and precious metals have been discovered in the region. The local fishing area brings in over three million tons of fish per year.

All together make the islands an incredibly valuable property. So valuable that the region did not float to the Japanese either during the collapse of the USSR or in the 90s. Russian leaders were firm on the Kuril Islands and did not give them over to Japan.

Due to the policy of closed borders, eastern sailors practically did not explore the space surrounding Japan. The first to map the Kuril Islands

In 1786, Catherine II officially incorporated the Kuril Islands into the empire. By this time, there were already the first Russian fishing villages. The dispute over Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai archipelago arose in the same year 1786.

Due to the proximity of the islands to the main border, the Japanese automatically considered them their own. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Russia did not have real military control over the lands.

On February 7, 1855, in exchange for a trade agreement, Nicholas I ceded these possessions to the Asians. Today, the date is celebrated annually by the Japanese as Northern Territories Day. Thus, the first Japanese settlements appeared here only in the middle of the 19th century.

Subsequently, the Kurils passed from hand to hand several times. The territory finally became Russian after the Second World War. In 1951, at a conference in San Francisco, the Japanese

However, the peace treaty was not signed by the countries of the socialist bloc, since the agreement did not consider the interests of China and did not secure Sakhalin and the Kuriles specifically for the USSR.

According to the Japanese position, in 1951 they really abandoned the Kuriles and Sakhalin, but did not mean the above islands. These lands are their historical possessions and they do not fall under the terms of the peace treaty.

Moreover, since the Second World War there has never been a peace treaty with Russia, which means that all the post-war territorial perturbations carried out by the USSR are not legally fixed. It is believed that the Russians simply occupied the disputed lands.

To top it off, according to political analysts, the territorial dispute with Russia is actively fueled by the United States. Within the framework of the union agreement,

The Soviet and then Russian authorities tried many times to conclude a peace agreement with Japan and return at least 2 islands out of 4. But for the eastern neighbor this is too much exchange: a couple of territories instead of an overseas ally that defends Japan.

Due to an insoluble dispute, the peace agreement was never signed, and the parties are engaged in endless negotiations, which each time end in nothing. Someone will have to give in.